In the last couple of months, I have been learning so very much about food. I’m learning things that I didn’t even know I needed to learn but the best part is, I’m sort of getting my head around the whole idea of ‘wholefoods’ and why we’re told certain things are good and bad.
What I’m learning is that the food itself, in its real, unadulterated form isn’t ever really bad, it’s what had been done to it that takes it from nourishing our bodies to sometimes doing more harm than good. Take sugar for example, while it’s still not great for us to have too much of it in any form, having it in as close-to-natural form as possible means we get more than just a dose of calories and a bit of a sugar high.
Rapadura sugar, which is purely dehydrated cane sugar, still contains minerals and vitamins and one teaspoon of it contains 11% of the recommended daily intake of iron for your average Joe or Jane. Pretty cool huh? Compare that to the refined, white version which contains… (crickets chirping) zero nutritional value, a hit of calories and a nice quick spike in your blood sugar levels.
But this type of sugar isn’t readily available. It’s not as sweet and addictive as the processed white stuff and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s not as financially profitable to produce. It is a much better choice for our health though and I’ve been experimenting with it in recipes for a little while now. You might also find it called Panela sugar which is the same thing.
Having said all that, making something from scratch eg a biscuit, with regular white sugar is still better for us than buying a packet of biscuits from the supermarket. Personally I think it’s more fun too.
So that is my latest challenge. I am on the hunt for ingredients in their purest form. The flow-on effect from this seems to be moving more away from the supermarket which tends to stock the processed versions of things. I’ll do a post soon with all the suppliers that I have found (most are online).
Really it’s the whole theory of back-to-basics and it can be applied across many facets of life not just food.
In terms of cooking, I think this way of thinking has actually improved my cooking. Nothing is totally off-limits. Yes sweet things in moderation as always but a muffin for breakfast? Why not? It’s full of good stuff if it’s made with whole ingredients and it tastes even better when you know it’s nourishing you.
I actually think it’s even less expensive to eat this way because eating food that is packed with nutrients fills you up. You’re not hungry two seconds later because your body has been fed everything it needs. Yes the actual ingredients are a little more expensive but I seem to treasure them that little bit more and not let anything go to waste.
I mentioned muffins for breakfast didn’t I? Yep sure did. I have been making these on the weekends for a couple of months now. They’re pretty easy to make so a good one to get the kids involved and freeze well too. You can even defrost them, put them back in the muffin tin and pop them in the oven for a while and everyone will think you baked them fresh.
Two weekends ago, Ollie and I spent Coop’s Saturday morning nap whipping up a batch and as soon as they were ready, the four of us headed out to the park and had freshly-baked muffins for brunch. It was so lovely. To me it was much more special than popping into the bakery on the way.
Feel free to use wholemeal flour in place of spelt but as I said, I’ve been experimenting with different pure ingredients and types of flours and spelt is a great one for using in place of white or wholemeal without changing the texture of flavour of a recipe. It’s a really easy swap. You can get it at the supermarket or online either as flour, or buy the grains and process it in a high-powered blender or thermomix to make your own flour.
- Banana oat and blueberry muffins
- 2 cups wholemeal spelt flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarb soda
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup rapadura sugar or maple syrup (if using maple syrup, mix it with the wet ingredients first not the dry)
- 2 bananas, mashed
- 2 free-range eggs
- ¾ cup of full-fat organic natural yoghurt
- ¼ cup olive oil (or melted coconut oil)
- ⅓ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced.
- Grease a 12-hole muffin tin (or line with muffin cases if you prefer).
- Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon into a large bowl then add the oats and sugar and stir it all together.
- In another bowl, mash the bananas then whisk in the eggs, yoghurt and oil - it’s easiest to use a fork to do this.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and use a spatular to fold in the wet ingredients.
- Add the blueberries and fold them in.
- Divide the batter between the muffin tin holes.
- If you want to be fancy, sprinkle the top of each muffin with a few extra rolled oats.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of one comes out clean.
- Leave them to sit in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool - or devour them straight away with some butter. Just beware of the blueberries - they are super super hot straight out of the oven.